Newspaper Article

January 25, 2020

"Living Water Should Flow through the Church"

After a recent day of heavy rain I saw a local TV news report about a flooded apartment building. The video showed a stream of water flowing out the door of an apartment. My heart ached for those dealing with such a problem, but my mind went back to one morning some years ago when I encountered a similar sight. I walked up to our church building to discover water seeping out from under the door as a result of a toilet getting stuck and left running undetected for more than a day. Since that door was nowhere near the bathroom, you can imagine the widespread damage I found when I went inside.

These incidents are reminiscent of a vision given to one of Godís prophets. Ezekiel saw water flowing from the threshold of the temple (Ezekiel 47). In this case it wasnít an indication of a problem or the result of some kind of accident or flooding disaster. This water flowing out the door was a positive occurrence. It was actually a picture depicting how God wants things to be and how they should be in connection with His people. The Bible points both to us as individual believers being temples of the Holy Spirit and to the church as a temple of God. Jesus connected the idea of living water to the Holy Spirit, declaring that ďrivers of living waterĒ would flow out of the hearts of those who received the Spirit in His fullness (John 7:37-39). So Ezekielís vision should remind us that the church should be a Spirit-filled body of believers in which the living water of the Holy Spirit is bubbling up like a fountain and then overflowing to bring blessings to those around it.

Unfortunately too many of us and our churches donít leave much room for the Holy Spirit to work and move in our midst. In some churches the Holy Spirit is rarely mentioned. In other cases, Heís relegated to a back corner of our theology as being some kind of mysterious divine force we canít understand and donít need to concern ourselves with. Heís rarely sought after to fill us, guide us, and empower us as Jesus taught He would do. Too many churches are depending on manís wisdom and skill rather than the Holy Spiritís leadership and enablement. Too many of us are so set in our ways and traditions that a real movement of the Holy Spirit among us would likely scare us or cause us to put up resistance to it. Letís seek to be individuals and churches who are truly open, welcoming, and pursuing whatever the Holy Spirit wants to do in us and through us.

Ezekiel saw that water flow out the door of the temple, becoming greater and greater until it grew into a mighty river that brought life and healing wherever it flowed. There were numerous healthy, fruit-bearing trees on its banks. It transformed dead seas into bodies of water teeming with fish. It made a huge difference wherever it flowed. What a great picture that is of what the church should be. We should be bringing life, blessing, and healing to those around us. Certainly, we live in a world that needs it today. There is so much spiritual sickness and deadness around us. Wherever our river flows Ė in our workplaces, schools, and communities Ė we can be a transformative source that brings healing and help to those whose lives have been marred by the evils of our day.

Donít be afraid of the living water. We need to let the Holy Spirit fill His church and flow through us to bring life to a dry, dead world.